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Genetics of human height

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  • McEvoy, Brian P.
  • Visscher, Peter M.
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    Abstract

    Height is correlated with risk to certain diseases and various socio-economic outcomes. As an easy to observe and measure trait, it has been a classic paradigm in the emergence of fundamental concepts regarding inheritance and genetics. Resemblances in height between relatives suggest that 80% of height variation is under genetic control with the rest controlled by environmental factors such as diet and disease exposure. Nearly a century ago it was recognised that many genes were likely to be involved but it is only with recent advances in technology that it has become possible to comprehensively search the human genome for DNA variants that control height. About 50 genes and regions of the genome have been associated with height to date. These begin to explain the biological basis of height, its links to disease and aid our understanding of the evolution of human height. The genes discovered so far have a very small individual effect and hundreds, maybe thousands, more of even smaller effects are still lost in the genome. Despite a successful start to height gene mapping, there remain considerable theoretical, technological, and statistical hurdles to be overcome in order to unravel its full genetic basis.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics & Human Biology.

    Volume (Year): 7 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 3 (December)
    Pages: 294-306

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:7:y:2009:i:3:p:294-306

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622964

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    Keywords: Genes Genetic Height Physical stature;

    References

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    1. Komlos, John & Baur, Marieluise, 2003. "From the Tallest to (One of) the Fattest: The Enigmatic Fate of the American Population in the 20th Century," Discussion Papers in Economics 76, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    2. Garcia, Jaume & Quintana-Domeque, Climent, 2007. "The evolution of adult height in Europe: A brief note," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 340-349, July.
    3. Herpin, Nicolas, 2005. "Love, careers, and heights in France, 2001," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 420-449, December.
    4. Cole, T. J., 2003. "The secular trend in human physical growth: a biological view," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 161-168, June.
    5. Hiermeyer, Martin, 2009. "Height and BMI values of German conscripts in 2000, 2001 and 1906," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 366-375, December.
    6. Batty, G. David & Shipley, Martin J. & Gunnell, David & Huxley, Rachel & Kivimaki, Mika & Woodward, Mark & Lee, Crystal Man Ying & Smith, George Davey, 2009. "Height, wealth, and health: An overview with new data from three longitudinal studies," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 137-152, July.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:
    1. Howard Bodenhorn & Carolyn Moehling & Gregory N. Price, 2012. "Short Criminals: Stature and Crime in Early America," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(2), pages 393 - 419.
    2. Do, D. Phuong & Watkins, Daphne C. & Hiermeyer, Martin & Finch, Brian K., 2013. "The relationship between height and neighborhood context across racial/ethnic groups: A multi-level analysis of the 1999–2004 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 30-41.
    3. Akachi, Yoko & Canning, David, 2010. "Health trends in Sub-Saharan Africa: Conflicting evidence from infant mortality rates and adult heights," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 273-288, July.
    4. Komlos, John, 2010. "The recent decline in the height of African-American women," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 58-66, March.
    5. Richmond, Tracy K. & Walls, Courtney E. & Subramanian, S.V., 2013. "The association of adolescent socioeconomic position and adult height: Variation across racial/ethnic groups," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 178-184.
    6. Alexander Moradi, 2010. "Selective Mortality or Growth after Childhood?� What Really is Key to Understand the Puzzlingly Tall Adult Heights in Sub-Saharan Africa," Economics Series Working Papers CSAE WPS/2010-17, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    7. Singh-Manoux, Archana & Gourmelen, Julie & Ferrie, Jane & Silventoinen, Karri & Guéguen, Alice & Stringhini, Silvia & Nabi, Hermann & Kivimaki, Mika, 2010. "Trends in the association between height and socioeconomic indicators in France, 1970-2003," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 396-404, December.
    8. Alexander Moradi, 2006. "Nutritional status and economic development in sub-Saharan Africa, 1950-1980," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-046, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    9. Schoch, Tobias & Staub, Kaspar & Pfister, Christian, 2012. "Social inequality and the biological standard of living: An anthropometric analysis of Swiss conscription data, 1875–1950," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 154-173.
    10. Perkins, Jessica M. & Khan, Kashif T. & Smith, George Davey & Subramanian, S.V., 2011. "Patterns and trends of adult height in India in 2005-2006," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 184-193, March.

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